Comment on Chattanoogan.com – Chattanooga's Source For Breaking Local News by EJ.
How Long Should I Try To Find The Owner Of Something Valuable Before Keeping Item? Recently I found a piece of jewelry in a public place (parking lot, laundromat, shopping mall, ect). My first impression was that it was merely costume jewelry, but I picked it up with the thought that it might have some minor value. After carrying it in my pocket for a few days, I happened into a jewelry store to find out if it was real. If it wasn’t, I didn’t think it would be worth my effort to find the owner. To my shock, it was real and quite valuable. I immediately began searching for the owner. I called the place it found it to ask if anyone has reported it lost. I put ads online and in the newspaper. The following day I returned to where I found it and put up a sign. I even called the local police and asked if it had been reported lost or stolen– it hadn’t. Because it was not in the city limits of any nearby city, I was referred to the county sheriff’s office, which said I could turn it in, but even after a holding period, I would likely not get it since the police station auctions anything valued at more than $1500. The clerk said I was not under any obligation to turn it into them provided that I made a “good faith effort” to find the owner.
So, I’m asking how long does one have to try to find the owner? It’s valuable enough that I believe anyone who has lost it would be looking for it, however because of the location that I found it, the jewelry could have been there for days or even weeks before I found it.